A quick review of the latest books I’ve read in some series I follow.
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 5 stars, recommended for fans of wit, class, the supernatural, Victorian London, awesome heroines, romance, humour, mystery and steampunk
Blue Bloods: 3 stars, recommended for younger readers, fans of vampires and Gossip Girl
Sugar Maple Vermont: 3 stars, recommended for fans of romance with a hint of supernatural, knitters
Oh, Ms. Carriger. You and Lady Alexia Maccon have done it again. Quite simply, I loved this book, cannot wait for TImeless (due in March 2012) and Carriger’s new series about an espionage and etiquette school. Carriger has said that each of the Parasol Protectorate books is inspired by a style of Victorian literature, and Heartless is a Sherlock-Holmes style mystery. When Alexia is visited by a ghost warning of a plot to assassinate the Queen, she begins to investigate, parasol in tow. I don’t want to say much more in case you haven’t read the other adventures of Lady Alexia Maccon (though you really must get on that). Go now, and beg, borrow or buy a copy of Soulless, the Parasol Protectorate #1.
Blue Bloods is a series about upper-East Side high schoolers who also happen to be “vampires.” I put vampires in quotes, as each creator of a story of vampires changes the vampire mythology to suit their purposes. I’ll buy it for True Blood, not so much for Twilight, and the Blue Bloods shall be referred to as Blue Bloods, since the only things they have in common with traditional vampires are their fangs (though the location has changed) and a fondness for blood. The Blue Bloods are the angels who fell from heaven with Lucifer, but seek to return by atoning for their sins. Their souls are reborn in different bodies, so that each Blue Blood has access to their memories from previous lifetimes (crossing to the New World on the Mayflower, defeating Caligula in ancient Rome, etc.). It’s an interesting take, and it makes me want to read Paradise Lost.
The first book is a bit slow, as there is a lot of exposition both for us and for the characters, and the narrative switches between four main characters, two of whom know what they are, two of whom know nothing of the Blue Bloods. While I could do without the copious descriptions of what the characters are wearing, I’m interested in the world of the Blue Bloods, and plan to read book two.
Sugar Maple, Vermont, is typical New England hamlet, except for the folks who live there: they are all supernatural creatures. Shapeshifters run the community theater, the vampires manage the funeral home, there are witches, fae, trolls…and Chloe Hobbes. She’s the half human, half witch descendent of Aerynn, a refugee from the Salem Witch Trials who established Sugar Maple as a haven for supernatural folk. As long as one of her female descendants is in Sugar Maple, the town is protected. As Chloe is pushing 30, the first book, Casting Spells, dealt with the town’s comic attempts to play matchmaker for Chloe and the arrival of a human Boston police detective investigating a murder. I picked it up on a whim at the library, drawn by the cover and my desire for a good summer read. I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was and thought it would make a great series, as there were certainly more stories to tell about Sugar Maple and I really loved the concept.
Laced with Magic begins a few months after Casting Spells ends. Chloe and her paramour are trying to adjust to their new relationship and protect the town from encroaching threats. I didn’t enjoy this one as much. It was more about Chloe and Luke (the boyfriend) than the town. Also, I find the “his-ex-returns-how-committed-is-he?” plot line to be boring and trite, even with supernatural spice. So I’m holding out for improvement in book three, but I won’t pick it up right away.